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Graphic novel an increasingly popular genre: experts

Graphic novel an increasingly popular genre: experts

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) The popularity of graphic novels has been increasing around the world in recent years, with many artists turning to the artform to express themselves, according to foreign and domestic experts in the publishing sector. France currently publishes around 5,000 comic books each year, around seven times the figure of two decades ago. One reason for the increase is the rise of the graphic novel in the 1990s, when people began to understand that comic books are not only for children but can also be for adults, said St廧hane Beaujean, art director of Angoul瘱e International Comics Festival. Graphic novels refer broadly to fictional stories told in comic format and presented as a book. Representative works include Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel "Persepolis," which portrays the author's childhood and early adulthood in Iran, and Art Spiegelman's "Maus," which depicts the author interviewing his father about his Holocaust experience. Graphic novels allow artists to express their emotions more freely than traditional comics because at the time of their emergence, traditional comics in France had already settled into a certain format, Beaujean said during a graphic novel forum Friday at the Taipei International Book Exhibition. Johann Ulrich, head of the German publisher Avant-Verlag, said graphic novels are also gaining more recognition in Germany, even though, like in Taiwan, they do not occupy as big a market share as in Japan or France. More German graphic novelists are having their works published, said Ulrich. His publishing house, for example, publishes around 15 new works per year at present, compared with 10 two years ago, he told CNA. Compared with traditional comic books that focus more on adventure and fun, graphic novels are a more literary form of comic storytelling and often address historical, biographical, political, social and cultural topics, he said. "Economics-wise it is interesting to see that the graphic novel is one of the few areas of the bookshop market that has been growing in the last few years. So I am quite optimistic about the future of graphic novels," he said. For countries like Germany and Taiwan, which do not have a big comic tradition, the best way to develop readership in the genre is to bring more local authors into the market and offer more graphic novels that deal with social and political topics that people care about, Ulrich said. He also noted that several German art schools are now offering courses in the genre, with many of the graduates being female artists -- a sharp departure from the past. "I think it's quite revolutionary because in my childhood, nearly all of the comics I read were from men," Ulrich said. "So I think we will see a different kind of comic coming up in the next 10 years." Although Ulrich remains optimistic about the German market, Beaujean said it will depend on how the creative form is received in each country. But whether it is comics or graphic novels, the important thing is for artists to continue to express their emotions through their works and to be creative with their topics, he said. Aho Huang (???), editor-in-chief of Dala Publishing Co., said it remains to be seen if graphic novels will take off in Taiwan, which is still heavily influenced by traditional Japanese manga. But more and more young people are asking: "Can we have something different?" he said. (By Christie Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-18 10:57 GMT+08:00